Hello and welcome to a special edition of GE20Watch! I’m your GE Watcher.
This is a special issue because the new electoral boundaries have been announced by the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC). If you’re unsure of the importance of this, do read the very first issue of this newsletter which laid out the road to the GE, but tl;dr the report signifies that the GE could be imminent.
The number of MPs will increase from 89 to 93, comprising of 14 from SMCs and 79 from GRCs. There will be 14 Single-Member Constituencies (SMCs) and 17 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), an increase from the current number of 13 SMCs and 16 GRCs.
Sengkang GRC will be the new GRC, created through a merger of Sengkang West and Punggol East SMCs, as well as parts of Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC. In addition to these two SMCs, Fengshan SMC has been subsumed into East Coast GRC, which becomes a new 5-member GRC.
Four new SMCs have been created: Punggol West (carved out of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), Yio Chu Kang (carved out of Ang Mo Kio GRC), Kebun Baru (carved out of Nee Soon GRC), and Marymount (carved out of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC).
Both Ang Mo Kio and Pasir Ris-Punggol become five-member GRCs, meaning there are no more six-member GRCs. In addition, West Coast GRC has also become a five-member GRC, having absorbed polling districts from Choa Chu Kang GRC and Hong Kah North.
The boundaries of the Workers’ Party-controlled Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC have remained the same. However, it is interesting to note that the now-defunct Punggol East SMC had been under the Workers’ Party until 2015.
The GE has usually followed the release of the EBRC report as early as one day after (during GE 2001), to as late as 1 month and 26 days after (during GE 2011). PM Lee received the EBRC’s report on March 11, and on that same day, DPM Heng Swee Keat said that he was discussing with PM Lee about the timing of the election amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak that shows no signs of abating, this could potentially be an unusual and unprecedented election period. Will there be a longer wait until the election? If elections are announced, how will rallies be carried out, since mass gatherings are not allowed? Will they be televised? How will voting be carried out? These are salient questions going into the GE period.
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